Our guest speakers were Patrick O’Keefe and Sarah Brinkmann from Great Neighborhoods through Transform Rockford. Also in attendance to hear them were Mayor Greg Jury from Loves Park and several city officials. Their idea is that strong neighborhoods will equal great places to live. In order to make a “great neighborhood” we need to attract & retain residents, encourage civic engagement and social networking within a natural or built environment. Currently, there are associations in about 28 Rockford neighborhoods and leaders get together quarterly. One of the first steps is to map the assets of the neighborhood; they identify strengths, plot them on a map and determine how to elevate assets. The focus is only on the positive; they want to take old buildings and refresh or revamp them, not tear them down. They want people to move here & live here and the regional focus should be on what’s great and why. Thanks, Patrick & Sarah for bringing us some important, even vital, information for our “great neighborhoods”. For more info, visit greatneighborhoods.info or greatneighborhoods@transformrockford.org.